Native Speaker - The Braids
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Jan 18, 2011
    90
    If there's ever been an advertisement for allowing bands to develop before they blow up, Native Speaker is it. You'll probably listen to more immediate albums this year, but few will have the down-the-rabbit-hole quality that marks Native Speaker for success.
  2. Jan 20, 2011
    87
    These songs are great expanses, sprawling and glorious.
  3. May 18, 2011
    80
    Rarely do teenage kicks result in such eloquent, nuanced records as this. [May 2011, p.118]
  4. May 11, 2011
    80
    A rich debut (but brief at seven tracks) that sums up all that is beautiful and base in both music-making and love-making, Native Speaker consumes you like those lost hours spent locked away in a bedroom with a new lover.
  5. Apr 7, 2011
    80
    With Native Speaker, Braids project dreams onto iridescent lakes and marvel at how they glimmer, and the results are every bit as lovely as that sounds.
  6. Feb 8, 2011
    80
    Because this album sticks so memorably, so unwaveringly brightly, it's useless to resist it. The only thing to do is love, and so I do.
  7. Jan 20, 2011
    80
    There's something cataclysmic yet meditative about the album, which is just seven songs long.
  8. Jan 18, 2011
    80
    It's heady music about the body and its imperatives. And it's every bit as mesmerizing and vertiginous as desire can be.
  9. Jan 14, 2011
    80
    Difficult to place in just one genre, Braids creates a colorful atmosphere around its songs that completely immerse the listener in its movement.
  10. Jan 7, 2011
    80
    Lee's take on the feminine id is like the music itself: smooth on the outside, savage within.
  11. Jan 19, 2011
    79
    Native Speaker is by nature elliptical, never seeking out a final word even as it converses with itself, almost as if it's meant to be played as a loop, something that can begin as soon as it ends.
  12. Jan 18, 2011
    75
    Even when the songs struggle to find their end, Native Speaker remains a remarkably confident first outing.
  13. Feb 3, 2011
    72
    A minor criticism could arise in a homogeny of the individual parts, but that just might be splitting hairs.
  14. As long as Braids can escape unscathed from the hype machine, this could be an amazing journey.
  15. Jan 25, 2011
    70
    It ebbs and flows, and in the end, Native Speaker is a satisfying, invigorating listen.
  16. 70
    Yes, the influence of bands such as Animal Collective and Gang Gang Dance is present more often than not, but like all noteworthy artists, Braids are guided by the approaches their avant-pop inspirations take, rather than merely the sounds with their own distinct twist to them.
  17. Jan 20, 2011
    70
    If there's one thing to complain about, it's a lack of focus to each individual track, in deference to sheer joy at the combinations of sounds they're making.
  18. Jan 18, 2011
    70
    Standell-Preston's vocals can border on grating, and sometimes the band's approach feels formless instead of abstract. Nevertheless, Braids' uniquely feminine experimental pop is largely a success.
  19. Jan 18, 2011
    70
    Their debut takes the beatific psychedelic washes of Animal Collective back to the testy clatter of punk-folk wild women the Raincoats--an at times nutty, at times serene, mash-up of pastoral guitar babble, minimal orchestral drones, loopy chorale vocals and porous, roiling rhythms.
  20. 63
    It's more like the album we should all discover after they've broken through with their second or third long-player, when we'll all be a lot more forgiving.
  21. May 13, 2011
    60
    This still-teenage quartet writes heady songs that luxuriate in bubbling electronics, lagoon-diving reverb and layered harmonies. [Jun 2011, p.79]
  22. Jan 20, 2011
    60
    Yet even if their musical imagination gets away from them sometimes, Braids still come out ahead in the bargain, because all their futzing around tends to strike on unique and engaging combinations more often than not.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 21, 2011
    5
    I like the overall sound of the album, but ultimately there's not enough going on harmonically to keep me listening. Playing a lot of loops and layers over one or two chords can work if the songs are short enough and there are other points of interest, but I don't feel that is the case here. Also, it sounds way too much like Animal Collective. Full Review »